BOGOTA – Former Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos said on Sunday that the opposition Democratic Center party, which headed the campaign pushing for a “No” vote in the referendum on the peace pact with the FARC guerrillas, will extend a hand to President Juan Manuel Santos after Colombians voted against implementing the agreement.
“Extending our hand to President Santos,” the opposition leader told reporters when asked about what was going to happen after the result of the referendum, announced early Sunday evening, and he added that his party, headed by former President Alvaro Uribe, will seek to “re-conduct the process” with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
In commenting on what will happen with the rebels who are concentrated in several places around the country to begin the process of laying down their arms and demobilizing, Santos said that “all guarantees must be given” to them.
He also said that the Democratic Center will take the triumph of its position in the referendum with “a lot of humility.”
Santos said that his party wants the peace process to come to “a good conclusion” and so he offered to work with the government to achieve that end.
With just 0.20 percent of the ballots remaining to be counted from the 81,928 precincts around the country, the “No” option has garnered 6,429,882 votes, or 50.23 percent, to 6,370,438, or 49.76 percent, for the “Yes” option, a result that puts a win by those favoring the treaty mathematically out of reach.
Meanwhile, President Santos was to address the nation on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. local time from the Casa de Nariño, the government headquarters, officials with the President’s Office said.
Santos had voted first thing in the morning at Precinct No. 1, located in the National Capitol, just a short distance from the Casa de Nariño.
He has not commented yet on the results of the referendum.